How to Become a Commercial Drone Pilot
I'm a semi-retired IT geek and Web developer with an aviation background going back to 1976. I've also been an amateur (and occasionally professional) photographer since childhood.
Given that background, I suppose it was only a matter of time before I would get into drone photography and videography; and because getting paid for a hobby is better than not getting paid, it would only be a matter of time before I would want to earn money with my drone.
It also was inevitable that at some point I would put up a Web site about my drone activities. That's what I did for a living for many years, after all. But putting drone pictures and videos on a monetized Web site meant that I would first have to earn my FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot certificate. So that's what I did.
That Web site (not this one) started out with pages featuring videos about scenic areas and historic sites, usually accompanied by my long-winded commentary. It was just a place for me to share information that I believed was interesting and important, along with aerial illustrations and videos.
Over time, however, I started adding pages about the process of becoming a commercial drone pilot. I wrote those pages because I noticed that the questions they answered were frequently being asked on the Reddit r/drones and r/Part107 subs, usually because the people asking were new to aviation and found the FAA's official Part 107 page information bewildering.
My own aviation background goes back to the 1970's, so I'm well-versed in FAA-speak. I took it upon myself to write pages that would attempt, at least, to explain the process of getting a Part 107 certificate in language that people new to aviation would find easier to understand.
Not surprisingly, those pages became the most popular pages of the site. Apparently, easy-to-understand answers to frequently-asked questions about flying drones for money proved more interesting than my discussions about the histories of old buildings. Go figure.
Which Brings Us to This Site
Most of the pages on this site used to be on my personal site. I moved them here because enough people were looking for for information about how to become professional drone pilots that I decided that the topic deserved a site of its own.
The core purpose of this site is to provide information and resources to help visitors who want to get an FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate with a Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems rating. That's the official term for what most people call a "commercial drone pilot license."
It's also an example of why I think a site like this is necessary: I want to explain the process of earning a Part 107 certificate in simple, straightforward language, starting with what the "license" is actually called. It's an example of how the terminology surrounding drones and pilot certification can be confusing to people who are new to aviation. I try to make it a little less puzzling.
I also plan to include some pages about topics that I think would mainly be of interest to professional drone pilots, but that aren't directly related to the FAA licensing process. If you have any suggestions, you can contact me here.
What this Site is Not
This is an informational site, not an educational one. I'm not a flight instructor, and this site makes no attempt to teach you the information you'll need to pass your FAA Part 107 Knowledge Test. The reason is simply that there are people out there who are better teachers than I am.
If you're looking for a course to pass the FAA Part 107 test, then I suggest you enroll in Pilot Institute's Part 107 training course. Greg, the Chief Instructor, is a career aviator with a long resume as a pilot, flight instructor, and college professor of aviation. Students who take his Part 107 course have a better than 99 percent pass rate, and the school has a "will-pass" guarantee.
This site also isn't a part of the FAA nor any other government agency. I don't work for the FAA, DOT, TSA, NTSB, nor any other agency of the federal government. I try to provide accurate information, but it shouldn't be considered authoritative. My opinions are my own, not those of any regulatory body.
All that said, I hope the site is useful to you and provides information and resources that simplify your path to becoming a commercial drone pilot. If you have any comments or suggestions, please contact me using this form.
Revised March 17, 2022.